Each day this week we have been publishing a pair of video interviews with early-career scientists based in the US, who share their thoughts on a range of issues. These 10 scientists were invited delegates at ComSciCon 2017, a national workshop for promising science communicators. In the interviews, researchers discuss their career ambitions and the challenges they face in achieving those dreams. They also discuss a range of issues relating to science communication, diversity in science and the role scientists can play in the current political climate in the US.
The penultimate interview in our series is with Sadie Witkowski, a psychology graduate student at Northwestern University. Having developed a wide-ranging interest in science when growing up, Sadie went on to double major in psychology and is now doing a PhD studying the brain and sleep processes. Sadie believes there is a dichotomy in the way the public perceive science – between the expert celebrity presenters such as Neil DeGrasse Tyson and the uncommunicative intellectuals in their ivory towers. Sadie believes that the vast majority of practising scientists fall somewhere in-between those extremes and there is value in making that clear in order to humanize science.
Our final interview of the series is with Michael Graw, who is studying for a PhD in oceanography at Oregon State University. Michael believes that one of the big challenges for early-career researchers is securing funding for research when you are competing with far more experienced scientists. As with many of the other delegates from ComSciCon, Michael hopes to pursue a career in science communication after finishing his PhD. He hopes to use photography and videography to broadcast the exciting developments in his field with wider audiences.
On Monday we published interviews with materials scientist Grayson Doucette and molecular biologist Khady Sall. On Tuesday we featured physics educationalist Reggie Bain and ecologist Shannon Bayliss. On Wednesday we profiled astrophysicist Chani Nava and quantitative ecologist Will Chen. Then yesterday we published interviews with tuberculosis researcher Katie Wu and neuroscientist Anzar Abbas.
To hear more voices on the state of science in the US, take a look at the free-to-read Physics World special report on physics in the US. Share your thoughts on the current state of physics in the US by posting a comment below or joining the conversation on Twitter including our handle @PhysicsWorld.